Political Fiction and the American Self

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University of Illinois Press, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 206 pages
Examining political novels that have achieved (or been denied) canonical
status, John Whalen-Bridge demonstrates how Herman Melville, Jack London,
Norman Mailer, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Margaret Atwood have
grappled with the problem of balancing radicalism and art. He shows that
some books are more political than others, that some political novelists
are more skillful than others, and that readers must allow for basic working
distinctions between politics and aesthetics if we are to make useful
judgments about which political novels to read, and why.
"Whalen-Bridge demonstrates with clarity and power that the American
political novel should not be ostracized but celebrated as a genre equal
or superior to poetic and aesthetic ones." -- Tobin Siebers, author
of Cold War Criticism and the Politics of Skepticism
 

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Contents

Political Fiction as Impurity in American Literary Criticism
17
The Range of the American Political Novel
43
Submerged Revolution in MobyDick
45
How to Read a Revolutionary Novel The Iron Heel
73
Individualism and Political Power in Contemporary America
101
Adamic Purity as DoubleAgent in Harlots Ghost
103
Invisible Prophet Sula Peace 1965
131
Politics and Interpretation in America
171
Works Cited and Consulted
187
Index
199
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About the author (1998)

John Whalen-Bridge is a visiting professor of English at the University of the Ryukyus in Japan.

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